Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theme Thursday: Self Portrait

This definitely captures my not really being happy with the news of the day, but still trying to be presentable. 

For more self-portraits from Theme Thursday, check out Clan Donaldson.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What I wore Sunday, the cranky baby edition plus Cara box reveal!

So, this week is just going to be a busy one.  Thus I don't see myself blogging much during it and thus have decided to do an all in one post to sum up some things. We have a wedding that both Ben and my husband are in on Saturday, Keith has his double days of class this week, and then there is the bachelor party for Keith and the rehearsal stuff for the wedding and all.  And I still have to get Ben some shoes since apparently his feet just grew a size in the last month!

So here goes: 

It was a rough morning at mass.  The cousins and my sister who came to visit left this morning, and I think my two boys were having a case of the sad that our built in playmates were leaving.  It was great to have them, and it was fun to see especially how much my four year old niece loved Ephraim.  Ephraim as you will see later was definitely sad to see her go.

So here is the outfit, it was about 20 degrees cooler and since our church doesn't have AC being a super old but gorgeous building, it was nice to have the temperature drop for a least a few days.

Undershirt: Loft by Ann Taylor
Sweater: Derek Heart, from a clothing swap
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes: Sanita
Necklace: souvenir from one of the times my parents went to HI.

And here is cranky baby, just to prove I wasn't lying.

And now for the Cara box: 

So this month, the Cara box theme was "Regional".  And honestly as hard as I thought it was going to be, it turned out to be super fun to make and I think the box I sent to Jessica over at A Different Kind of Plan turned out okay too. Jessica was super sweet, and really fun to get to know this month.  I love that she is okay with just taking life as it is even though she may have thought her life would have been going down a completely different road at this point. 

As for the box I recieved, I loved it!  I think Mandy over at Through the Hanson Lens really has a knack for putting together a Cara box. She is from Iowa, and has lived in a few towns around the area including Spillville and Ames. She probably doesn't know it, but Mandy is already one of my favorite people because she was able to find the love of her life while still in college, and is still hacking away at school married.  I love when people defy stereotypes such as this one, but anyway, on to the box!

Here it is! A note, a tray, a magnet, fresh baked goodies, donut seeds, and a postcard magnet!

The Viking magnet was in reference to her history in the part of Iowa she is from, Viking and Norwegians have a very big play there. Uffda is apparently a common phrase said around there. 

Donut seeds.  While just cheerio look a likes really, the packaging of it is hilarious, I wish I had taken a better picture of it.  Anyway, she thought of my two boys with this and they are definitely cereal fans.

A post card magnet of IA to remember her by.

Goldfinch platter, the state bird, so very Iowa, and very pretty!

And home baked goodies. These were delicious, and I am definitely a food person in someways and these just hit the spot. 

Like all Cara boxes, there was a sweet note from the sender.  I love these notes, and Mandy wrote such sweet words in it too.  Thanks again!  

Check out more about Cara boxes at Wifefessionals and more Sunday outfits and Fine Linen and Purple

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What I Wore Sunday, the whole family edition

Happy Pentecost! It's been a few weeks since the whole family has been able to be in mass together, so I figured why not post what each of us wore.  We've been trying some different techniques in children wrangling during mass, and I think out of everything the Catholic cards books from seem to be the most useful in helping the kids get through and even understand a little about mass too. I would give both the boys a B- in behavior today which is so much better from a month ago.  So Happy Pentecost, did you wear any red today?  I don't have much red for hot weather so I did not, but as you will see I did pull out the pink and was able to have one of the boys wear red. So here are the outfits:

Ephraim: (who has a fascination with buckles and thus stole the bike helmets and buckled them together as you can see here)
Shirt: Thrifted, I think Faded Glory is the brand
Pants: Hand me down from his brother
Shoes: Keens, thrifted from my friend's shop Pete and Polly

Kiera aka Me: (who is embracing the frizzy hair due to humidity)
Necklace: My aunt who makes jewelry made this necklace for my wedding & I still wear it.
Dress: Ann Taylor, from a clothing swap
Shoes: Teva from Sierra Trading Post

Husband aka Keith: 
Shirt: Thrifted from a consignment sale in Nashville
Pants: Levi's acquired from his brother
Shoes: Really old, probably from Macy's

Benjamin: (the digger)
Hat: while not part of in mass attire it was worn to and from, hand me down from me.
Shirt: Thrifted, orginally from Gap
Pants: Wal-mart
Shoes: Thomas, gift from his godfather
Loader: Jack from Thomas and Friends

So there you have it.  What we all wore Sunday for Pentecost.  I hope you are all having or had an excellent Sunday.  It's hot here, so we are a bit cranky since B decided he didn't need a nap on day of all days, but we are powering through. 

Check out some more Sunday attire at Fine Linen and Purple!  

Friday, May 17, 2013

7 quick pictures

 1.  Started with grocery shopping with Grandma.

2. Then we had a painting mis-adventure

3. We tried on our new suits for Mr. Tony's wedding in a few weeks


4. We finally checked out the Giant Tortoise exhibit at the aquarium


5. We got out the water table, because after all the cold this week we got a day of summer weather.

6. Another day we were able to fly kites, and pretend we have steam funnels made from sippy cups.


 7. And then we ended with a little bit of ice cream.

Check out some more quick takes at Conversion Diary! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

False control

I've oddly read a lot of parenting articles as of late.  Usually I avoid this to all cost, because I feel like I'm being told that I'm doing it all wrong.  I even went to a baby shower a few weeks ago and felt like I couldn't really have that much input because most of the things given, well, I didn't use them.
I learned however, what worked for me, and so far so good (fingers crossed).

The parenting articles I was reading this past week, dealt with things that have really been plaguing me.  And maybe they weren't so much parenting per-say as psychology of societies and their kids.  While its nice to be validated in what I thought all along, it was also good to be stretched and re-evaulate how I'm doing.  The one article compared American parenting to International parenting.  And oddly my conclusion was that I really didn't grow up in a very "American" household, despite me being many generations in of American immigrants.  I was let to my own devices a lot, I wasn't allowed to feel entitled, and I definitely wasn't given everything.  I do think I was given food a lot, but maybe not nearly as much as I do for my kids (I need to work on this so they eat meals!).  I did go to public school, but I think somehow I hacked that system in maybe a not so good way.  (I'll have to explain that later, but I have come to think it so.)

Anyway, it was a good reminder that the constant hovering that is expected of me in American society doesn't have to be that way, it definitely feels unnatural to me anyway.  The second article was about how we are raising a nation of wimps because we hover too much.  We haven't let go.  It's odd to think that in a society where we always are trying to make our babies be adults, we then do not let our children grow up.  Our babies can't be babied but our children can? It makes no sense.  I think you should read it yourself.  Ultimately, what hit home for me or what challenged me, was that American parents especially seem entitled to a false sense of control.  And what they, the authors, gather is this false sense of control is really hurting us as a society in more ways than one.

I think for my own self, one defining thing was that realization that I can't control my child.  My child while not fully developed, is his own person.  He isn't going to sleep when I click my fingers, he isn't going to stop crying because I say he should, he isn't going to stop nursing just because I want him to do so (at least in my less fine moments). I've been working through this idea with God's help for a while now, it didn't probably come to fruition till recently. Also, while there is something to be said about teaching morality, as our society lacks it severely, it can't be forced. I should say something more here but, that is for another day.

There will be chaos in the littles, and I have to embrace it.  I want more littles, and I need to embrace that I won't always be in control, otherwise I think I will never get there. I think I would stop at the American perfect two child household if I let this false sense of control get the best of me. (Disclaimer: I understand that one or two children is all one can have sometimes, or that there is the cross of infertility, that is not what I am talking about here, its more about the personal struggle I have in letting go and letting God.) Sometimes, life is going to be completely chaotic and the only one going to be in control is God.  While I will always want to keep my children safe and fed and loved, something I can do with God's help, I don't need to imprint my will to have my child do this or that by a certain age (or peer pressure or society's will for that matter).  He doesn't have to fit my mold of perfect child, because God definitely knows I'm not perfect, and the little one isn't either.

Anyway, I'm not sure this made any sense, but I do know if the goal of parenting is to form independent human beings that with a Catholic spin make it to Heaven, I need to get my ideas of what it should be like out of the way and start letting God's ways come in and help us get everyone there.  Because there is going to be a big rocking party in Heaven and I sure want to be there when its all said and done.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fuzzy like Paul

Acts 9: 9 "For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank." RSV

I read this the other day in my devotional book that Amy Wellborn wrote.  Well, she didn't write this since its from the Bible, but she wrote the devotion to go along with it.  This verse is about Paul( or Saul at this particular moment). She goes on to explain how he didn't know what was to happen but had to trust God in this. And he did.  He was in a complete haze about what was happening.  She also goes on to say that his training before this moment does not go to waste in his conversion to Christ.

I know this can apply to so many situations, but I just felt like this is me.  I trained and trained to be a chemist and now I am not a chemist.  I am a stay at home mother instead.  And while I love it, it just is so blurry somedays.  I don't know what I am doing, its messy, and most days I just wing it.  God equipped me somehow to do it but I get it in my head that I can't.  

I also get frustrated that I can't explain well to the passerby that in no time in the foreseeable future do I see myself being a practicing chemist.  And really I'm not sad about that since I actually hated most parts about research.  I think about being a teaching sometimes, but really my heart isn't in being a teacher.  At least it isn't in the traditional sense of teaching and really, practically, with where our family is at, its not really a feasible option.  

The thing is, though, all my education isn't going to be wasted, I am reassured in this by the story of Paul. He was actually able to use all his training before his conversion when it came to evangelizing the masses. I think I can use my training too.  It may not be in an actual chemist job, but it will be used.   So, yes, I could have been a stay-at-home mom without getting a PhD or a college degree even, but I wouldn't be me.  I wouldn't bring to the table to each person and situation I encounter the same experiences and knowledge.  (note: this doesn't make me special, I think this can apply to anyone anywhere in a fog.)

Without my chemistry experience, I also don't think I would have made the choices I made so I am grateful for it. (Just as in my conversion experience to Catholicism I am grateful for my protestant upbringing, it really set some roots that I love having.)  I don't think I would thought about making my own laundry soap or planting a garden or starting a science blog.  I definitely wouldn't have entertained the idea of homeschooling. 

So, maybe someday when my kids, however many God blesses me with, move out of the house I will go and do a college teaching gig.  However, even if I don't become a traditional teacher,  I can use my chemistry knowledge and teach my kids now with a love for science and a love for exploring the unknown and for experimentation and taking risks.  

But somedays it is all fuzzy still, and I am sure there will be future fuzzy days with even more confusion than I currently have. I just need to remember that God is there, especially in the confusion.  He's there in the times that I mess up and in the times that I do well.  He's there when I get scared about a sick kid or being overwhelmed with my state in life. He will give me the means to get through the rough patches or through the things of which I am unsure how just to do it.  I know he's there, especially when looking back, I just need to believe it now.

So I end this with a prayer, Jesus, I want to believe, help me in my unbelief. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Skipping Stones...Toddler Style

Photo Credit: Sarah Tan, Wade Oval Lagoon

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"I don't where I'm going on this long and windy road"

I've had a lot of self retrospection time lately.  Maybe its because I'm at home a night a lot, who knows. Maybe its because I'm trying to get somewhere but I'm not quite there and its holding me back.  Who knows.  Here are the things I do know.

1. I am more crunchy than I thought I would ever be.  Maybe its just because it works for me (like attachment parenting), or that its more cost effective(making my own laundry soap).  Whatever it is, that's who I am.

2. I don't do organic nearly as much as folks probably think I do.  I tend to avoid fake sugars and a huge amount of processed crap.  (though totally bought Little Debbie cakes today because well in my current state they were just needed) But I just don't care if I buy organic grapes over non-organic grapes.  Somethings taste better organic and I do those and somethings are cheaper because they are local and organic and I do those, but I just am not 100% organic girl.

3. I recycle any chance I get. I've been known to pull stuff out of the garbage if its not gross just to make sure it gets put in the recycle bin. I also compost, and I'm trying to garden more.  I just like doing these things, because I figure I better be a good steward with what I'm given right?

4. I like large families.  I don't know if its because I am from one, well at least in our society 4 kids is a lot, but I like them.  So yep, the fact that I have 2 kids, doesn't mean that I am done.  And honestly there is no certain number in my mind.  Really its up to God. A small family may be the cards for me and I don't know it, but I like leaving it up to God, he's just that cool.

5. I do sometimes care too much about what others think.  Even though I love where I am at in life, if I have the potential to run into someone in my past who thinks I should be somewhere else, I cringe at that.  I shouldn't but I do.

6. I do vaccinate, but I don't care if you don't.  I co-sleep but I don't care if you don't.  I do use tylenol and ib profen with my kids when ill, but I don't care if you don't.  Whatever works for you do it.

7. I am learning and growing in this life I am living.  I want to know God more.  I want to pray more.  I want to love more.  I fail miserably at knowing that God is always there and never going to abandon me. I don't know why but this plagues me a lot.

8. I have a long way to get to be who God wants me to be.  I struggle with anxiety, and its awful that I am so hard on myself and probably my husband too.

9. I love people. I love listening to people and talking with them and hearing their stories.  I love helping them too.  I may not always be gracious in my interactions, but I am trying to be better with this.

10. I love a good book, I love reading.  I helps me be stable, it escapes me from myself. If I don't read every day or at least ever other day I am just not a nice person.

11. I want to try to have less expectations.  I want to try to simply love and not want things from others.

12. I do some day want to homeschool. I don't care what schooling option you choose, as long as its right for you.  But I am feeling a pull towards homeschooling and I at least want to try it.  An experiment per say. I know I should be more pro-school establishment since I hacked it and ended up with a PhD.  But I'm not, maybe due to experience, maybe because I knew there were a lot of opportunities missed or maybe I'm just crazy.

There may be more, but I just wanted to get these things out of my head.  And now for a song by who else but The Rocket Summer. Excuse the really cheesy video, I think he was like 17 when he wrote this but the song fits.